Using the whole chicken – a creative way to use the bones!


Just a quick micro post today since I haven’t posted much but I was thinking about this.  People often wonder what to do with the bones… and yes, we can make stock, but then what?  Well… did you know you can burn leftover chicken bones (or, anything really) and they will add valuable calcium to the ashes?  That is, if you want to use it as a garden amendment.

Quite some time ago my mom and I made a joint series of posts on the Homesteader School on how to use the whole chicken.  I was just thinking about it today and while I think many of us who try to live a more sustainable, less consumer-focused lifestyle try to maximize what we use and minimize what we throw away.  Naturally!

I save all my bones in ziplock bags in the freezer and then when I have energy or enough I make big batches of slow-simmered chicken stock and then can it into jars.  After I’ve finished making the stock, the strained out bones and vegetable ends are all quite mushy – you can smush them with a spoon.  But there’s just some things I don’t know if I want to feed to the animals, so I opt to dry them out a bit and then I burn them in the woodstove in a really really hot fire.

All the ashes from the woodstove go on the compost pile or even directly applied in the garden.  So, just another way to use them.

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  1. I love to read articles on how we can reduce our consumption and reuse. There is far too much waste in today’s world and although a few chicken bones don’t seem like much, I shudder to think how many are thrown in the trash bins across North America every year.

  2. I give the soft bones back to my chickens after making stock… they gobble them up, every tiny bit. Every animal we eat was either raised by us, bought pastured and organic or obtained from the wild. That way no concerns about what we are eating or feeding to our animals.

    When you make long and slow cooked broth even beef bones can be crumbled by hand and given to our dogs too. Just NO cooked bones that are still hard and brittle to dogs… ever. Raw bone fragments will dissolve in gut, cooked they can puncture and kill.

    1. Yes, agreed! Unfortunately I don’t have my chickens anymore 🙁 Long story… but I agree, I’d rather have my chickens reuse our food scraps before they get put in the garden or compost.

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